A security consultant tries to get inside animal research labs - and
A new article authored by a research lab security consultant comes
to one conclusion: it is not hard to get inside an animal research lab.
View the full article here.
The article is published in
ALN, a trade publication for animal research labs. The magazine focuses
solely on animal research, with articles on everything from new cage
cleaning devices to threats from the animal rights movement.
carried out a security audit at several unnamed research labs, in which he
attempted to gain access. He then reported some of his findings in the ALN
article, titled "Determined
Here are a few findings from the author's
attempts to access animal research labs:
Using a fake ID
"Using an Avery label, a hotel's color printer, and Microsoft Word, I was
able to make a realistic photo ID badge within one hour, which allowed me to
gain access to the facility.... I was never challenged at any time".
Using the fake ID, the author was able to gain access to "research areas"
(which I would read to mean: where the animal were held). This is something
most activists consider totally outside their reach. And it was achieved by
someone whose only motivation was the check he would receive at the end of
the security audit.
The article verifies from the researcher's side a
positive side-effect of sophisticated electronic security: The more faith
placed on high tech security, the more a lab's guard lowers, and the more
effective low-tech methods become.
Going through the front door
In this instance, the author did nighttime surveillance at an animal lab
with "sophisticated camera systems" & "access control readers". To access
the lab, he simply tailed an employee through the front door, directly in
view of a security guard. At this lab, the author found:
over-reliance on security technology. This reliance had diminished the
security program in its entirety."
I wrote about this effect in an
article titled "From
Obstacle to Opportunity", about the hidden opportunity gains from
increased security and surveillance. For example, why it could be easier to
raid a fur farm with electronic security than one without.
further emphasizes this point in the section on ID cards:
purpose of an identification card is that it validates your identity.
However, from a security perspective, it additonally validates, supports,
and authorizes access to [an animal research lab]."
opportunities of increased security
To repeat my point from "From
Obstacle to Opportunity":
"The purchaser of high-tech security pays
for the luxury of inattention. With this false sense of comfort, and blind
faith in technology, she who circumvents an alarm finds herself in a much
easier position to do a complete job once inside".
Complete security is
To quote the author:
"There are a multitude of ways
to access a facility, and no organization will stop a determined aggressor".
I've heard activists lament over a bygone era when
the A.L.F. could access labs easily. Yet it seems only activists themselves
believe this access has become impossible. As this article shows, the
industry itself knows this isn't true.